November 23, 2005
REMINDER - Call for proposals - WILU 35
Just a reminder that the deadline for WILU 35 proposals is fast approaching. The program committee would like to have all submissions in by Monday November 28, 2005.
You can submit your proposal online.
The 35th Annual Workshop on Instruction in Library Use will be held at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia from May 10-12, 2006.
November 20, 2005
Two IL-related documents out of Alexandria
Two separate conferences held in Alexandria, Egypt this month have come up with statements about the importance of IL in an international context. The first came out of the High Level Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning, Nov.6-9: The Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning. It says all sorts of lovely things about information literacy and is the sort of thing that might make your day. The second is from the World Summit on the Information Sociey pre-conference, "Libraries -- the Information Society in Action." Their document is most fabulously titled the Alexandria Manifesto on Libraries, the Information Society in Action. Among other things, the manifesto "urges national, regional and local governments as well as international organizations to ... recognise the importance of information literacy and vigorously support strategies to create a literate and skilled populace which can advance and benefit from the global Information Society."
Slightly odd is that this last manifesto comes from IFLA, although the main Summit is a UN initiative. Also, I checked the documents that came out of the main Summit, and there is no mention of IL anywhere. Lots of talk about ICT (information and communication technology), but nothing about IL. Hmmm... Still, how cool is it that you can quote something called the Alexandria Manifesto when talking about your job?
November 18, 2005
IL in Scotland
Hello IL blogreaders...
Some of you may have seen this in another venue, but I thought it important to try and get the word out. Bill Johnston, from the University of Strathclyde has sent out notice of an IL-related e-petition in Scotland. The petition is by Dr John Crawford, "calling on the Scottish Parliament, to urge the Scottish Executive to ensure that the national school curriculum recognises the importance of information literacy as a key lifelong learning skill. "
The petition writers are looking for people to sign it, from all over the world. Seems like a very good thing to get behind to me...
There's more information on the petition over at the new home for the Sheila and Bill's Information Literacy Weblog.
November 9, 2005
What's our responsibility for the "L" in IL?
StatsCan has released the results of the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey and found that 42% of Canadian adults 16-65 scored lower than "the desired threshold for coping with the increasing skill demands of a knowledge society." In my province of New Brunswick, 56% of adults scored at this low level. The test looks at four areas: prose literacy (understanding and using information from texts), document literacy (locating and using information in various formats), numeracy, and problem solving. (The StatsCan document has examples of the kinds of questions asked in each area.)
So this got me thinking -- what is the responsibility of the IL instructional community to deal with these issues? I'll admit that for me, literacy without the "information" in front of it didn't really seem to be my affair; in a university setting, it was something I took for granted. Well, university educated adults do appear in that 42% of low scorers (according to a CBC online news story, 12% of university graduates scored below that "desired threshold" but I can't find that info in the StatsCan release -- maybe it will be in the full report coming out at the end of the month). So can I really pretend that literacy isn't my concern? How can someone who can't read and understand a text be able to think about evaluating bias or intended audience? Can you be "information literate" (hate that term!) without being literate?